Story“100 years of the Chinese Communist Party” (1/3). In the high places of “red tourism”, commemorations are increasing in China to celebrate the creation, in July 1921, of the CCP brought to power by Mao Zedong. These festivities are an opportunity for the current president, Xi Jinping, to control the national narrative.
The statue of Mao Zedong (1893-1976) erected on January 18, 2020 in the village of Mao Lou, in northern Henan, is one of the most recent in China. It represents the founder of the People’s Republic in full length, his right arm raised, his back to the Yellow River and staring at the horizon. The pleats of her coat reveal a slight east wind. He holds his cap in his left hand, folded behind his back.
At its feet, begins the road that goes north and connects this charmless town of less than 3,000 inhabitants to the rest of the country. Beside him, a black marble stele on which are engraved three inscriptions: a quote from the great man on the Yellow River, one from the current president, Xi Jinping, on fidelity to the initial commitment, and a poem in praise of Mao. On the back, the list of the 134 patrons and the amount of their donations for the construction of the monument. Included between 200 and 6,888 yuan (from 25 to 890 euros), these allowed to collect 97,036 yuan.
Cruelty and strategic mistakes
Why did you build such a statue in this remote corner? Sitting in front of an old merry-go-round which seems to have not welcomed children for ages, two retirees sell the wick without being asked. “This part of the road is dangerous. A feng shui master advised us to place her under the protection of a powerful person. As the village is also called Mao, we thought this was the best solution. ”
For many Westerners, the man who ruled China from 1949 until his demise in September 1976, and led the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) which will celebrate this 1is July his hundredth birthday, was a dictator whose cruelty and strategic errors resulted in the deaths of at least 30 million of his compatriots, and who left his successors a bloodless and backward country. For them, the great man is not Mao but Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997), the initiator of economic reforms. The Chinese do not necessarily see it that way.
Even a balanced historian like Wu Si, a courageous critic of the regime, is careful not to draw a purely negative assessment of the Mao years. “Average income did not increase much from 1949 to 1979, but productivity and education improved, as did life expectancy, he explains in a calm tone. On the other hand, freedoms have receded. Even if we see him as a dictator, it is clear that he has spent his life fighting battles he believed in and won them. This is why the Chinese admire him. “
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